We probably think of American heart month as those Sweetheart Candies sold in every chain store across America in preparation for valentines day (which are filled with tons of artificial dyes---posing their own set of health risks beteedubs). But really American heart month is meant to raise awareness of heart health across the nation (and I'm sure a little bit of a marketing ploy to get people to buy pretty red things...and use cool hashtags...but I'm down to see it for the benefits.
Below is a list of Dr. Mark Hyman's top recommendations for a healthy heart <3
"Simply put, preventative medicine becomes the best form of medicine. These 10 simple modifications can go a long way to preventing or reversing heart disease."
Eat a healthy diet. Increase healthy, whole foods rich in nutrients and phytonutrients (plant molecules). Aim for at least 8 to 10 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables every day. These foods are loaded with disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules.
Steady your blood sugar. Studies show blood sugar imbalances contribute to heart disease. Stabilize your blood sugar with protein, healthy fat and healthy carbohydrates at every meal. Never eat carbohydrates alone, and avoid processed sugars with carbohydrates. I discuss this more in-depth in The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.
Increase your fiber. Work your way up to 50 grams of fiber per day. High-fiber foods include vegetables, nuts, seeds and lower-sugar fruits like berries. If that becomes a challenge, try a fiber supplement such as PGX (Konjac fiber or glucomannan).
Avoid processed, junk foods. That includes sodas, juices and diet drinks, which adversely impact sugar and lipid metabolism. Researchshows liquid-sugar calories become the biggest contributor to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Don’t be fooled that 100 percent fruit juice is healthy. Juices are essentially pure, liquid sugar because processing strips away the fruit’s fiber.
Increase omega-3 fatty acids. Eat anti-inflammatory foods like cold-water fish including salmon, sardines and herring, as well as flaxseeds and even seaweed. Healthy fat actually benefits your heart by improving your overall cholesterol profile. It also lowers the small, dangerous LDL particles that contribute to heart disease by converting them into light, fluffy, safe LDL particles. I discuss how healthy fat can help you achieve and maintain good health in my new book, Eat Fat, Get Thin.
Eliminate ALL hydrogenated fat. Hydrogenated fat lurks in margarine, shortening, processed oils and many baked goods and processed foods like cookies and crackers. Even when the label states “no trans fats,” the word “hydrogenated” indicates that the product contains trans fat in one or more of the ingredients. Use healthy oils instead like coconut oil (rich in medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs), extra-virgin, organic, cold-pressed, olive oil, organic sesame oil, and other nut oils. You can now find MCT oil in my store.
Avoid or reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol can raise triglycerides, contribute to fatty liver and create sugar imbalances. Reducing or eliminating alcohol intake lowers inflammation, which contributes to heart disease and nearly every other chronic disease.
Take quality supplements. Combined with a healthy diet and exercise program, supplements can dramatically improve cardiovascular health. Take a good multi-vitamin/mineral along with a purified fish oil supplement that contains 1000 to 2000 milligrams a day of EPA/DHA. (You might need higher doses if you have low HDL and high triglycerides.) I also recommend a fiber supplement such as PGX (Konjac fiber or gluccomanan) to lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels. You can find these and other supplements in my store.
Get out and move! Research shows 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least five times a week can benefit your heart. After all, your heart is a muscle, and muscles need exercise. If you feel stronger and more capable, high-intensity interval training (also called burst training) and strength training help build muscle, reduce body fat composition and maintain strong bones. You simply cannot age successfully without sufficient, optimal exercise.
Manage stress levels. Stress alone can cause a heart attack. Sadly, chronic stress often triggers a cascade of events that cause that final, fatal heart attack. Among its problems, stress increases inflammation, raises your cholesterol and blood sugar, increases blood pressure and even makes your blood more likely to clot. Find your pause button to manage stress and relax. Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, breathing techniques and guided imagery can lower stress. Many patients find my UltraCalm CD helps dials down stress levels very effectively.
-Mark Hyman, MD
There ya have it folks. Take what you want and leave the rest. I'm just here to inform. <3
Peace, love & cozy kitchens,